Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jaded at the DOCNA Trial

The good news about the weekend is that Strummer had an awesome time, ran so fast and focused and I had a great time running him.  However the courses were so similar to each other and so easy, pinwheel after pinwheel after pinwheel.  Dogwalk to tunnel.  Serpentine.  Sigh.  I know, every trial I have the same complaint and yet I keep going.  I like to trial and I like wide open courses every now and again and if I don't do DOCNA I have only USDAA and it cuts my trials in half.  Giving money to the AKC is out of the question.  So I stay home or suffer the pinwheels.  And Strummer doesn't care, he was so happy, he doesn't care what the course is like.  I think I'm a bit out of step with DOCNA's target market though.

Despite the easy courses we had only one Q in Jumpers because it was a woesome weekend for the dogwalk, only 2/7 dogwalk hits and those were in Gamblers.  Two standard runs had the exact same dogwalk challenge and I practiced it in 2 Gamblers runs so I had the wonderfully frustrating experience of 4 dogwalk misses on the exact same challenge.  And it wasn't even challenging.  And the other miss was the dreaded 180 degree turn off the dogwalk towards you to a tunnel under the dogwalk.  So 5 dogwalk misses on only 2 different challenges.  At least he was consistent and I know what I need to practice.

Everything else was nearly perfect though, 6/7 weave entries, no knocked bars, 6/6 hits on the A-frame.  Strum had some beautiful runs despite the dogwalk madness.

Saturday Jumpers and Standard

DOCNA 2-9-2013 JUMPERS STANDARD from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Sunday 2 rounds of Standard and Time Gamble

DOCNA STANDARD 1 & 2, TIME GAMBLE from colliebrains on Vimeo.

When I saw Sunday's course maps and noticed that about half of one of the Standard runs was exactly the same as the day before and saw a pinwheel in both courses I lost a bit of enthusiasm for the day.  I handled one run using rear crosses instead of the more comfortable for me front crosses and it was good to practice something different but otherwise I was feeling bored with the course challenges.  Maybe a bit jaded with DOCNA in general.  I was planning on going to a DOCNA trial in April to fill a hole in my trialing schedule but we'll see.  Maybe I'll give it one more chance.  There isn't another DOCNA trial until August so I would have plenty of time to start missing it again.  So looking forward to USDAA and the Masters Challenge classes next month.

At least the heat was working and the arena was plenty toasty and the 3-6" of snow predicted for Saturday night never materialized.  I was done with my 3 runs by 2:15 on Saturday and 12:45 on Sunday and the trial was only 20 minutes away so there are some good things about DOCNA trials close to home.  Now if only I could get the dust out of my lungs.  Only one more dirt arena trial until next October.

Trial Stats

Specialist Jumpers Q, 1st place

Dogwalks:  2/7 (28%) 

A-frames:  6/6 (100%)

Weave entries:  6/7 (86%)  no pop outs

Knocked bars:  None

Teeters:  5/5 (100%)

Refusals:  None

2 Off courses:  1 in Standard, I let off handling at an easy tunnel/A-frame discrimination after he'd missed his dogwalk, 1 in another Standard round, Strum flipped into the tunnel off the dogwalk rather than doing the turn towards me for the tunnel entrance under the dogwalk.


  1. This might be an interesting post to send to Jim Mills. As I watched that jumpers run, I thought that it looked like every other 3 or 4 pinwheel DOCNA jumpers course. If every course seems to have the same challenges, it really takes the fun out of it.
    It would be like if every time you went out to practice, you practiced on exactly the same course - that would get boring really quick.
    On the bright side, Strummer was running great and doing awesome at his weaves!

  2. Unfortunately from what I've heard Jim is the source of the problem. Supposedly he doesn't give the judges a lot of room for creativity, takes their courses and makes them the way he wants them. Which is supposedly why they're the same from trial to trial. I've heard this from judges and other competitors.

    I was talking (whining) to someone about this and she said she doesn't anticipate things changing anytime soon because of the target market for DOCNA. I didn't really want to say it but there were a lot of handlers there that only do NADAC and DOCNA and have very minimal skills, slow dogs that obviously hate being out there, dogs that are too fat, old, sore, etc. I don't like to judge people so I don't often mention it but some of it is hard for me to watch. It's a shame because you can have fun, open courses that are challenging and different at the same time. I like to stretch out and run every once in a while but I'm oh so weary of a pinwheel or contact/tunnel discrimination or flip being the only challenge out there.

  3. And yeah, I swear I've done that same Jumpers course at the last few trials. I didn't even sign up for Jumpers on Sunday because there was no way I was paying the money and waiting around for 3 hours just to run in circles. I only signed up on Saturday because it was first run of the day. And Jumpers is my favorite class. But I think I'm through with spending money on it at DOCNA.

  4. Those were some really nice runs! I can totally see being frustrated if the courses are the same over and over and not challenging enough.

    Stay warm! (I say as I head out your way tomorrow)

  5. You're coming to Boulder or CO in general? I presume not for dog stuff on a Tuesday.

  6. When Katrina was trying to become a DOCNA judge, the biggest roadblock to success was creative differences in course design between what Katrina wanted to create, and what Jim would allow. She would submit designs to him for review, and he would change all the challenges and send them back the way he liked them. She just couldnt take it anymore and gave up the pursuit. If the courses were more challenging, I would gladly sign up for the trials, but I really dont want to play pinwheel, serpentine & flip to the tunnel in every run.

  7. Yeah and I think the courses have gotten even more repetitive in the last couple of years. Even at Nationals 2 years ago, the courses were so similar from day to day.

  8. Even the same DW tunnel discriminations. Wow, that would be annoying. Your dog got them with no problem. That's great! Not to open a can of worms but why won't you enter AKC?

  9. It's not a can of worms. I don't like the AKC, I think they're a terrible organization for dogs. They support puppy mills, fight tooth and nail any legislation that can help dogs and shut down puppy mills, their conformation shows encourage inbreeding that leads to genetic diseases and they encourage breeding for extreme physical features and deformities that lead to painful and disease ridden lives for the dogs of those breeds. Their conformation shows lose lots of money and agility makes a lot of money so they take profits from agility to pay for conformation and their lobbying efforts and I'm not good with supporting those things through my entry fees.

    Also, the AKC trials around here are crowded and the atmosphere is stressful, entries are expensive, only 2-3 runs a day. Many/most of the breed clubs that put on agility to raise money for conformation still don't allow mixed breeds and I think that's terrible even though I don't run my mixes any more. Probably some other reasons too but those are the main reasons.